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Found 23 results

  1. I've been thinking for a while now about buying an aeropress, purely based on Internet reviews. However I thought I'd join this forum and hopefully gain some useful knowledge. So does anybody have any suggestions on what I should buy with an aeropress or what I should buy instead?
  2. I've been running my mobile coffee business for 18 months now. Lovely customers, great reviews, but cannot earn a living. I have a pitch with 2,500 potential customers, but only 35-60 stop each day. I have an active social media presence and am getting a good reputation for the area. Have done a few weddings, small events and a regular market day. I do all of this on my own. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thank you,
  3. Hi all, another Newbie to the forum here. One reason is to sell my mini mazzer e, having just got my hands on a lovely new HG one grinder. Unfortunately looks like I have to post 5 comments before I'm allowed to start a new for sale post Once the mazzer is gone, its in with the Londinium and out with the Andreja premium. Oh happy times.....Kevin.
  4. Choosing an Domestic Espresso Machine An espresso machine has a seemingly simple task - to pump water through ground coffee at a temperature of around 93˚c and a pressure of 9 bar in 20 to 30 seconds. There is a secondary function of producing steam for heating and foaming milk. So why is there such a range of machines and range of prices (from £50 to £2000 and beyond)? What do you get for your money? How much do you need to spend to make a decent espresso There are a couple of key features that distinguish the good from the mediocre, and perhaps the most important is: Temperature Stability Supplying water at the correct temperature is essential for espresso. A commercial espresso machine is designed to be left on all day; it has a large boiler and a large amount of metal which, once warmed up, will keep a stable temperature all day long. Many commercial machines also heat the group (the bit the water passes through which the portafilter - the part that holds the ground coffee - locks onto) to help keep temperature stable. But in a smaller domestic machine it is much more difficult to maintain temperature - it will continually heat up and cool down as coffee is made. Brew Temperature and Steam Temperature You may have noticed already that the task of the espresso machine is not so straight forward - it has to supply water at for the coffee but at near boiling point for the steam. How is is able to do this? 1. Single Boiler Dual Function Most favoured on this forum are the Gaggia Classic (approx. £169) and the Rancilio Silvia (£349) The very cheapest espresso machines (under £100), despite their appearances, are really like a version of the Bialetti or Moka stove top pots; rather than using a pump, hot water is heated up by an electric element and steam pressure passes it though the coffee. This inevitably means the water is too hot and scalds the coffee. We will not be considering these. The simplest ‘proper’ domestic espresso machines work like this: a small thermostat-controlled boiler heats up the water to brew temperature, the pump forces it through the coffee. To make steam to foam your milk, you switch to a second thermostat and wait until the water reaches boiling point. Immediately we can see two problems with this system: firstly, you have to wait a few minutes between brewing and steaming for the boiler to get hotter and, perhaps more importantly, the temperature in the boiler is rising and falling all the time - after you have made steam, the boiler is going to be substantially hotter than it was before and it could take some time to return to the correct temperature for coffee. The Classic is solid, reliable and parts are easy to replace. It is a very popular machine and it easy to pick up a decent one second hand. The Silvia is generally regarded as a slightly better machine - more solid and better temperature stability - but the current price differential between it and the Classic mean that, arguably, it is not such good value for money. There are many other single boiler machines on the market, many of which look more stylish than the Gaggia or Rancilio but none of them are going to make better coffee or offer better long term value for money. Both the Classic and the Silvia can upgraded with a PID control. The PID (stands for Proportional/Integral/Derivative) is an electronic device that, rather than switching power to the boiler on and off like a simple thermostat, supplies power in a series of pulses that get briefer as the boiler approaches the correct temperature. The PID control also allows you to experiment with different temperatures for different coffees. 2. Heat Exchanger (HX) Popular HX machines include the Fracino Cherub (approx. £650), the Expobar Leva Office (£900), and the Rocket Giotto and Cellini (£1200 to £1400) The heat exchanger has been used for decades in commercial machines. In an HX machine there is one heating element and one boiler, which superheats water under pressure so it can deliver steam on demand. Temperature of the water is usually regulated by a pressurestat (the pressure of the water in the boiler is directly related to its temperature). The brew water does not come directly from the boiler but from a copper tube that passes through the boiler. A variation on this design (often but not necessarily incorporated into HX system) is the thermosiphon, which uses principles of convection (hot water rises/cold water sinks) to pass water directly from the boiler to the group which acts as a heat sink to reduce this superheated water to brew temperature. If the group gets too hot or too cold, water in the thermosiphon will circulate and bring it back to the correct temperature. The E61 group is often found on HX machines (called so because it was developed by Faema in 1961 - the year of the eclipse). Although initially a commercial design, it is now found on many prosumer machines. In the E61 group water is circulated through the body of the group itself, maintaining a stable temperature. It also allows for pre-infusion, which lets hot water flow into the coffee grinds just before extraction takes place enabling a better extraction. All the machines mentioned above are solidly made and will produce excellent coffee. The Italian machines (like Rocket and Izzo) tend to win on sheer looks, but the British (Fracino) and Spanish (Expobar) machines offer excellent value for money. All the machines mentioned so far use an electric pump to force water through the coffee. Pumps come into two basic types - vibratory and rotary. Both work well; the vibratory pumps are cheaper, rotary pumps quieter. 3. Dual Boiler Popular Dual Boiler machines include the Fracino Piccino (£600), Expobar Leva Dual (£1100), La Spaziale Vivaldi II (£1500) and the Izzo Alex Duetto (£1900) A increasingly popular solution is to have one boiler supplying the water for brewing coffee and a separate boiler supplying water for steam. Both boilers have their own heating elements. This creates a slightly more complicated and more costly system, but it does mean the temperature of the brew water can be controlled completely independently of the steam system. E61 type groups are also found on Dual Boiler machines. Both HX and Dual Boiler machines can maintain stable temperature and steam milk at the same time as they brew coffee and produce first rate espresso and cappuccino. Some machines, like the Expobar Leva Dual and the Alex Duetto have PID controls to maintain and adjust temperature accurately. Although in principle, Dual Boiler may seem like a better solution than HX machines, in practice both can produce excellent coffee. It really comes down to the particular design of the machine, and some HX designs may have better temperature stability and steam power than Dual Boiler machines. But there is an alternative to pump machines. 4. Lever Machines Popular lever machines include the Pavoni Europiccola (£300-£500), the Ponte Vecchio Lusso (£650 - £800), the Elektra Micocasa (£1000), the Olympia Cremina (£2750) and the Londinium I (£1600) Lever machines use a manual lever connected to a piston to force water through the coffee. This is traditional method that preceded electric pumps and is still favoured in southern Italy and is now having something of a resurgence. Advocates of lever machines claim that the column of water the piston pushes through the coffee extracts the very best from the coffee and the mechanical design of the system means temperature of water is reduced as the piston descends, reducing the undesirable elements that remain in the coffee as the extraction progresses. Lever machines have the additional advantage of being extremely reliable and almost silent. In manual lever machines the lever is connected directly to the piston, in spring-driven machines it is the spring that does the work (lifting the lever tensions the spring ready for the next extraction). Like dual boiler and heat exchanger designs, lever machines will supply steam without waiting for the boiler to reheat - either by basic mechanical design (the mass of the group and cylinder cooling the boiler water to the correct temperature) or by using thermosiphon principles. The best lever machines also exhibit excellent temperature stability but, with some of the more inexpensive machines, keeping the temperature steady can be a bit hit or miss (or, some would say, an acquired skill). The high price of some new lever machines is offset by the fact, because of simplicity of design and quality of engineering, they can literally last a lifetime. In conclusion: How much difference does it really make? 1. ALL the above machines are capable of making good espresso and cappucino, just on some it is easier than others. Generally speaking, the more sophisticated machines give more consistent results - it may take a bit more skill and fiddling to get a predictable result out of a smaller machine. Milk steaming is also easier on a bigger, more powerful machine. 2. The more sophisticated machines not only are likely to give you more consistent results, they will also allow you to fine-tune the extraction to get the very best out of the beans. This can make the difference between good and great coffee. 3. The bigger machines also allow you produce more coffees in a row and steam more milk without having to wait for the machine to heat up or cool down. If you are holding a dinner party and want to make half a dozen or more cappucinos, you may find it so tedious on a small machine that you end up offering them another form of coffee altogether. Roland Denning November 2012
  5. Morning forum, I'm Darsh. As many people who join this forum, I'm sure, I probably took the plunge and bought something without taking the advice from knowledgeable folks like yourselves. I thought the reviews were all I needed to know. Clearly not! I've posted in the Sage forum about my troubles with the barista express, any tips would be appreciated. Any alternative machine suggestions would also be welcomed. https://coffeeforums.co.uk/showthread.php?41508-Barista-Express-on-the-verge-of-returning-it-Should-I&p=549169#post549169 Thanks!
  6. Hi all, Found this forum by accident when searching for coffee flavour wheel. Wasn't lurking on here much, registered right away. I love coffee, but I was not systematic about it. Just buying different stuff without remembering anything. This resulted in drinking coffee, sometimes, which I did not enjoy. Recently, I started to learn more about coffee varieties, brewing techniques, flavours and physics of it all. I have an ambition (small hobby/project) to create a ( yet another : ) useful web resource for people (and primarily for myself) who make more effort sourcing their coffee than just pick up a bag at local shop. I have ideas about how I want to structure the information, based on what I'd like to see, but my hope is that I can learn more from this forum, both objective knowledge and personal experiences. Failing that, I hope learn something new and make friends along the way
  7. I'm trying to get to 10 posts to buy a machine
  8. Hey Everyone, I’m new to this forum and thought I would introduce myself. Since the lockdown began I have become even more obsessed with coffee. My current set up is very limited, but still get great coffee. I have an French Press, Aeropress and a V60 dripper with a Porlex Grinder. Love playing around with volumes, brew time, grind size and weights to test the different flavours you can get with just one variety of coffee bean. My palate prefers a chocolatey, fruity, sweet, brew and love the smell of freshly ground coffee in the morning. Looking to up my game with the purchase of a good grinder and machine to add to my current set up. Looking forward to contributing on here as my knowledge increases.
  9. Guest

    Hi from Ireland

    Hi, I'm new to the site and not strictly in the UK these days... actually in Donegal near to Derry (NI) though. Been drinking fresh roast pour over for a year or so but currently looking to buy a commercial espresso machine for enjoyment and some barista training. I look forward to participating in the forums. L.
  10. Hi all, New member here, even though i've been lurking on and off these forums for years. So here goes my story so far... I bought my first Gaggia Classic about 4 years ago with a krups GVX2, i believe it was called, with no research whatsoever and after my first few shots started looking for help on making a better coffee which was when i came across this board. As you can probably guess i almost instantly dropped the krups (how embarrassed was i) and bought myself the Mahlkonig Vario which at the time seemed to be the most talked about/recommended grinder, in my price range anyway. I added the silvia wand mod but didn't go any further with any mods as i was never convinced spending more money on the machine was a good idea as upgraditus had already hit after less than a year. Shortly after this 'disease' hit i found i was pregnant so had to give up on my coffee habit for a while so the classic was dutifully boxed up and put away to make room for all the extra baby equipment that would over run my kitchen. About a year later it all came back out again but to my annoyance i discovered i could no longer make a good coffee so had to go back into learning mode, which with a new baby was difficult so i lost my temper with it all and almost felt like giving it all away but the coffee drinker in me wouldn't allow so it sat on my counter unused staring at me everyday. Now about 6 months ago i decided i needed good coffee back in my life so back to the forums to find out exactly what i was doing wrong which was when i found out about this temp surfing business that i had never done before but seemed to do the trick. Now with my steaming skills back on track and decent espresso back in my cup i was happy again, until i remembered the shiny machine i'd longed for years before. Now this machine was the R58 but after looking it up to buy and seeing the price tag i almost collapsed, how could a coffee machine for the house cost so much when i only paid ~£250 for my classic and at the time that seemed excessive, but it was no good upgraditius had well and truely set in and wasn't letting go this time. So after looking round trying to find alternatives a bit more in my price bracket i'd settled on an expobar leva dual but not completely convinced i called bella barista for some advice. After a long chat on the phone, as sadly the store is just too far away for a visit, i'd been advised that the leva was a good machine but if i was able to stretch to the R58 i'd be better off with that, i think he might've picked up that in the back of my mind i wouldn't be happy with anything but the R58. Now on to my grinder, he didn't seem convinced that the vario would pair well with either machine and so suggested that i may want to upgrade that too and suggested a mignon but the machine was already gonna bust my budget so sadly at this time is not an option. So later that evening after convincing my other half that a new machine was desperately needed, no easy task as he doesn't drink coffee, i placed my order for the R58 and am now patiently waiting for delivery. Wow that was a much longer introduction than i thought it was going to be but that is my life history in terms of my coffee journey. Even though i've had the interest on and off for years i've never had the time/money to invest in a decent setup so i'm hoping now that my vario will be up to the task of the R58, if any of you out there have this pairing or have in the past and found it no good i'd be interested to hear your thoughts, but hopefully it will be acceptable for a while until i can save again if needed to replace. Well if you've made it this far thank you very much for reading i look forward to participating more in these forums now i've finally joined and will probably need a lot more help to hone my technique with my new machine when it arrives.
  11. Hello Everyone! My name is Bryen Gilchrist, I'm 25 years old, by profession I'm an IT expert but I'm a fanatic of Cameras and Lenses all about photography ya know? Well I was thinking about to accelerate my knowledge about the Cameras and Lenses and everything single thing about the photography and when I type in the search bar of google "best photography forums" then I got this board, I started taken a look around and beginning loving it, and finally decided to be a part of this. And for the time I just want to say hello to all of the senior members. Thanks I'm looking forward from other members that whose coming up to say me welcome.
  12. Ladies, Gentlemen, members all, this is a very helpful forum so just a thought from one of those who are happy to help to those of you that are requesting help and advice particularly in the area of purchasing. If you look at the top of the page you will see two headings.... My Profile and Settings If you want to help us help you then choose the settings option and within, down the left side of the page, you will find the option to edit profile. I wish to request that everybody takes a moment to fill out some of the details with information that might help us to help you. The one detail that crops up time and time again is that of where in the country you live (if you are in UK). (wonders... is UK a country now?). Towards the bottom of the page you can fill that detail in so that those living nearby can better suggest venues or help you. The same goes for purchasing secondhand.... local is that much easier. So, helping us to help you is what this is all about. (and maybe finding out if you live north of Watford ) Thanks for reading gd
  13. Hi all, I have been lurking for around 6 months and joined a couple of months ago so thought I should say hello. I have resisted asking a series of questions whilst buying my kit, learning how to use it and making good coffee. I have to say I have found this forum an invaluable resource throughout, and have found answers to all of my questions here so thank you all for your help! After a lot of research, I have ventured into entry level machines after never having owned/ used one, and bought a Silvia v4 and a Eureka Mignon grinder. Shout out to Bella Barista - very glad I chose them to purchase from, spoke to me for about 30minutes before my purchase and were exceptionally helpful. I probably could have saved about £30 shopping around elsewhere but they gave me a lot of confidence spending a wedge of money with them, and having all spare parts on site and their 2 year guarantee is great. I think it has taken me about 6 weeks to finally make decent espresso. I think grind fineness and just how little of a rotation on the mignon setting makes such a big difference. i found the mignon a little confusing as when u first set it, it doesnt 'stop' at its finest - you have to just keep going until it won't grind the beans it seems. Areas i still need to improve/ things i need to iron out include the clumping of the grind - i know there are techniques to eliminate this but I havent so far, and i wonder how much difference it actually makes. Also, I think i may need to buy a bigger basket than the stock 14g silvia as if i put any more than 12g in, it has trouble locking in/ there is no headroom between coffee and shower screen at all. I imagine i will get something like an 18g VST and dose around 16g next. at the moment it seems as though to put enough coffee in the basket to be able to level it off, after tamping, still leaves too much coffee to leave some headroom. Also, quite often, one spout delivers coffee first and the other one just drips before turning into a full stream, with the faster one a darker colour, the other lighter. I guess this is an issue with the distribution pre-tamp. As far as buying a PID, i think the surfing techniques are pretty simple, though can take more time + it would be nice to electronically guarantee I am at the correct temperature and remove that variable as something to worry about. Other purchases include some really nice, heavy, thick Ionia coffee cups from a ionia distributor in scotland - very happy with them. I will probably buy a new basket and perhaps a bottomless PF next, to check my distribution - I also hear that a bottomless PF may produce better crema too which would be good. Any advice on the basket/ PF situation would be appreciated. In terms of buying beans, I have been going to Workshop in Clerkenwell and Holborn to buy freshly roasted bags. I find it useful to have an espresso at the shop and then go use the same beans and home to try and get as close to how it was in Workshop at home. really nice place. I also have just had a coffee and bought freshly roasted beans from Chairs and Coffee in Fulham - really nice place, friendly, good coffee and they are just ramping up their roasting operation so would recommend checking them out if you are in the area. Think thats probably enough of an essay for now, so hello again and glad to be a member. Cheers Oli
  14. At last I am able to make a decent cup of coffee at home after many years of different machines- I am really grateful to DaveC for his review of the Verona. Bought with the Mignon and yes I am already exploring alternatives that meet the rules set by ‘she who must be obeyed’. Showing my age here! 50 years ago it was a stove top brewer. Then a variety of Gaggias but I felt it would be good to try a better machine so moved onto an Oscar in fact 2 of them were heavily used as I worked from home but they did not last more than a couple of years. 2 Silvias, both of which rusted quite quickly. So the next machine had to be all stainless and double boiler as I was fed up waiting for steam conditions to be right. Coffee beans have been a cause for concern over the years. A web search found Rave which is close to where we live. We are working through their range and so far like the Signature and Columbian Suarez. I am so pleased with the textures that I can taste now in my coffee. Thank you all for being such a helpful and entertaining group and I will keep looking for the next toy. The discussion about HG 1 or Versalab reminds me of the old debate about the best bits for a Hi-Fi system. The Sondek was the only deck to have there was no real alternative for a while. I pity you people who have a variety of top of the range devices to choose from. Ah well, Monsooned Malibar and go and listen to what’s left of my Linn system. Alan
  15. Hello! I've just joined the forum. I am an engineer in West Yorkshire and am in the process of designing and building my own espresso machine. It is a new type of machine, not a thermoblock, double boiler or HX machine. I've built one working model, and am currently working on a smarter-looking, smaller version. I'll be blogging about it as it progresses. Blog: http://www.espresso-vaporetto.com Cheers Paul Coleman
  16. Hi to everybody Lifelong coffee addict but fairly new to making coffees at home. Looking to purchase a new grinder to partner my Fracino Piccino machine. I make mainly espressos but my wife is a latte fan.
  17. zakary


    new member here, nice to meet you everybody!!
  18. Hi everyone, Been browsing the forum for a week or so now, came looking for tips on brewing coffee but soon found myself getting very much into all the espresso stuff posted on here. So that said, i've just ordered myself a Gaggia Classic and a few accessories from Happy Donkey to get myself started with it , cant wait! Now starts the waiting game till it arrives!
  19. Speciality Barista based in Worcester, working in a cafe in the Cotswolds. Brew enthusiast, proud owner of a lot of coffee gear! Would like to experience working in a Roastery. So learning as much as I can on that front. Active on Reddit in r/coffee and r/barista; people seem to like my advice there. Hoping I can shed some light on some products that I haven't seen reviewed here. If anyone can Direct me to a Review forum on here (if one exists), that would be great, I can't find one haha! Looking forward to learn a lot from everyone, and do my part in helping others as well. Cheers!
  20. Daggers


    I was a decaf drinker for years - used to find that caffeine didn’t agree with me. Happily that’s no longer an issue which means I have had more reason to try out lots of different coffee shops (I work in a number of locations so have regular access to loads of them). It has opened my taste buds to good coffee and so my Nespresso at home just won’t cut it. Struggling to take the plunge as don’t want to buy the wrong kit.
  21. Hey guys, Im Ben from West yorkshire, been in the coffee scene upwards now of 11 years so great to be part of a big forum of coffee nuts, currently running a hottop KN8828B-2 roaster with breville duo temp pro and dose control grinder. if anyones got any tips on the hottop profiling or where to get the spare filters and parts by all means let me know
  22. Hi New here! currently I have a Nespresso machine and feel its time for something more serious, either new or used up to £500 suggestions welcome Cheers David
  23. Hello guys, I'm new here and this is my first post (even though was reading a lot here before registering). About a year ago I started my journey to perfect espresso with plastic Delonghi Icona 310 and then after few months upgraded to Francis X1 and bought used Mazzer SJ Automatic to go with it. Francis looked pretty cool in the kitchen but performance wise it was a big disappointment. No consistency and milk frothing was a nightmare on this machine. Few weeks ago I sold Francis and as a temporary solution bought used Gaggia Classic from Amazon warehouse. It came in slightly damaged but still sealed box absolutely brand new. To be honest I quite liked classic and mazzer sj combination and was looking to upgrade steaming wand and replace pressurized baskets to normal ones until I tried Isomac Tea at my friends house. Now I have returned Gaggia and researching prosumer machines. My budget is around £1000-1200. The only 2 boiler option would be Expobar within my budget, but I also consider HX machines such as ECM Barista and Rocket Cellini Plus V2. Any advice and help will be much appreciated. Cheers, Taut
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